The extrusion forming process enables high degrees of forming to be achieved in just a single process step as well as the production of almost unlimited varieties of possible profile cross-sections. Extrusion is an essential manufacturing process, especially for the lightweight material aluminum. In conventional extrusion processes, however, only rigid forming tools are used that can only form constant profile cross-sections along the length of a profile. Since the design of components and parts is carried out according to the highest expected stress, this does not occur uniformly over their length in real technical use. Thus, locally oversized profile areas inevitably result in the conventional process.
To solve the above-mentioned problems, scientists at a German university have developed a bridge tool for the production of extruded profiles with varying cross-sections resulting in a reduction of oversized profile sections.
This is achieved by integrating movable segments in the tool, which are moved during the forming process by an externally mounted drive mechanism. By moving the segments vertically to the direction of extrusion, the shaping gap in the tool and consequently the local wall thickness of the hollow section is either reduced or increased. The maximum wall thickness change achievable so far was 1.2 mm. With an initial wall thickness of 4.5mm, this was reduced to 3.3mm, which corresponds to a reduction of approximately 27%.
This innovative technology achieves savings in the use of materials and the weight of profiles. These savings reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, especially in weight-sensitive applications such as transportation.
The university is interested in finding a partner under a license agreement. A future partner would thus hold the right to use the technology in return for a fee or a share of royalties. Patent purchase is possible as well. The university is also open to agree on a research cooperation agreement that aims at the joint continued development of the technology.